The Kashmir Conundrum is like Abhimanyu's Chakravyuh

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On  26 October 1947, the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir formally  became a part of the Indian Union. Pakistan never accepted the  decision of Maharaja Hari Singh, who was legally empowered to sign  the instrument of accession, as final. It has repeatedly tried to use  force and terrorism to change the status quo, in the process muddying  the issue.

Even  today, whenever the issues of J&K’s accession to India and  Article 370 are raised, emotions run high. Information is cherry  picked, arguments are aggressive and thus, a meaningful discussion  becomes impossible.

The  author seeks to provoke thought and does not claim the views  expressed in article are the last word on the subject.

This  essay tries to be comprehensive covering the following aspects:  accession of J&K, geo-political issues then, Article 370, Sheikh  Abdullah’s arrest in 1953, who is a permanent resident of J&K,  why refugees can vote in Lok Sabha but not in State polls, Order of  1954, population and delimitation, lopsided development in the state  and, State Finances. It ends with a picture of J&K as a pampered  brat.

Chakravyuh  is an advanced battle formation. During the Mahabharata war the  Kauravas decided to capture Yudhister by engaging the Pandavas with a  chakravyuh. Just  like Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu knew how to get in but not out of a  Chakravyuh, successive Governments have not been able to get out of  the situation created by Nehru in J&K.

First,  a brief chronology of key events in Jammu and Kashmir (hereafter  referred to as J&K).
1. 5,000 Pathan tribesmen invade J&K starting 21/10/1947.
2. Instrument of Accession (hereafter referred to as IOA) signed on 26/10/1947.
3. IOA unconditionally accepted by Mountbatten on 27/10/1947.
4. Nehru chose to go to the U.N. on 1/1/1948 on the aggression.
5. Resolutions adopted by UN Commission for India and Pakistan on 13/8/1948 and 5/1/1949 provide for a plebiscite after withdrawal of troops from Pakistan.
6. Regent of J&K Yuvraj Karan Singh issued a proclamation on 25/11/1949 that legally declared total oneness with the Constitution of India.
7. Article 370 became a part of Indian Constitution in 1950.
8. Elections to Constituent Assembly held in 1951-Sheikh Abdullah became PM of J&K.
9. Sheikh Abdullah arrested in 1953.
10. Kashmir Constituent Assembly confirmed legality of State’s accession to India in 1954.
11. State Constitution came into force on 26/1/1957.

For  easy reading essay is split into ten parts. Matter covered in each  part is given below. This includes answers to commonly asked  questions on J&K.

Part  1 deals with Accession of J&K toanswer  the following questions: Can  Maharaja Hari Singh be accused of procrastinating on whether to join  India or Pakistan? Why  has India not held a plebiscite in J&K? Did  the British provide tacit support to Pakistan in POJK and Gilgit /  Baltisthan? Why  was J&K important to Pakistan? What is the importance of Aksai  Chin (part of undivided J&K) to China? Can  the Accession of J&K to India be reversed?

Part  2 focuses  on answers to questions on article 370: Was  J&K the only State to draft its own Constitution? Was  Article 370 promised at the time of signing IOA? If  Article 370 is repealed, would J&K cease to be part of India, as  the National Conference and some separatist groups are claiming  today? Could  Nehru have forced the State to merge with the Constitution of India  like other States? Could Nehru’s Government have cleared J&K of  Pakistan occupation? Is  Article 370 a temporary provision?  What are the provisions of  Article 370 in brief? Is it  correct to justify Article 370 by referring to exclusive provisions  of Article 371?

Part  three  seeks  to answer questions on the first elections in J&K and Sheikh  Abdullah’s arrest in 1953: Was  any Census conducted in 1951 before deciding the Electoral Districts?  What was the basis for allocating seats between Jammu, Kashmir and  Ladakh regions?  What  were the results of the 1951 Election? What  about the 1952 Agreement and Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest? Why  was Sheikh Abdullah and 25 others arrested in 1953? What about the  new Constitution and 1957 elections?

Part  4 tells us about the order  of 1954. It  askswhich  parts of the Indian Constitution apply to J&K and raises an  important question on whether Article 35A forms part of the  Constitution.

Part  5 talks about which laws  not applicable in J&K. Does  Article 370 prevent anyone from buying property in the State? What  about women’s  rights in J&K?

Part  6 focuses on who is a Permanent Resident of J&K? What  are benefits conferred to Permanent Residents and implications  thereof?

Part  7 talks  of the  population and delimitation of  constituencies. What is the region wise population since 1951? What are the  comparisons of population and Census numbers post 2001?

Have  assembly seats been manipulated to give Kashmir valley control of the  legislature?

Part  8 looks at lopsided development of Jammu and Ladakh. We  also ask, why  are some separatist leaders against return of Pandits to the Valley?  Why are Kashmiri Pandits reluctant to return to the Valley? It also  gives details of how residents of Jammu and Ladakh regions are  discriminated against.

Part  9 looks at State Finances. We  can look at questions like these:is  the state of J&K discriminated against by the Centre? What do the  state’s budget numbers for the years 2009-10 to 2014-15 suggest?  What is the breakup of Revenue Expenditure for the years 2009-10 to  2014-15?

Part  10 is a summary and conclusion and seeks to answer the question: Is  there a solution to the Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan would not be  satisfied?

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